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AfterShock Comics First Titles Offer Unique and Exciting Stories (Review)


Since its launch in April of 2015, a lot has been expected from upstart comic book publisher AfterShock Comics. With a veteran management team at the helm and a stable of star-studded creative talent, AfterShock is looking to make an impact in the competitive comic book market. Their initial slate of titles have been released and they demonstrate a unique and eclectic mix of genres influenced by dynamic creators. Here is my first impression of the first wave of books from AfterShock.



InSEXts (MR)

(W) Marguerite Bennett

(A/CA) Ariela Kristantina

At the dusk of a century, a pair of vengeful Victorian vixens discover a horrifying power that transforms them into rich and strange new creatures. Armed with their dark, evolving forms, they descend into a world of the cultured and occult, with new senses and new sensuality, to forge a life for themselves and the child of their love. This new monthly series is the brainchild of writer Marguerite Bennett (A-Force, Angela, Red Sonja) and artist Ariela Kristantina (Wolverines, Deep State), a comic unlike any you’ve seen before!

'Insexts' is a seductively twisted tale of two Victorian women who've learned to bypass the patriarchy of the day with the use of some powerful, albeit gross, supernatural forces. The mature rated series delves into erotic territory that is rarely seen in comics but writer Marguerite Bennett handles it with class and provides some gruesome surprices along the way. It's the type of creator-owned venture that finally allows Bennett's talents to flourish and deliver an exceptionally dark and ominous story. 

Artist Ariela Kristantina creates an eerie atmosphere with scenes cast in shadows and detailed panels that encompass the furnishings and architecture of the Victorian age. She's as adept at choreographing a sexual rendezvous as she is at illustrating an unconventional blood-splattering birth.Trust me, you have to see it to believe it.

Replica (MR)

(W) Paul Jenkins

(A/CA) Andy Clarke

Meet Trevor Carter, an Earth-born peacekeeping agent on the intergalactic hub known as The Transfer. When Trevor’s already near impossible assignment becomes a bit too much for the errant detective, he turns to the only logical ap-proach, Replication. More of a good thing can’t hurt, right? A single clone could be helpful; unfortunately the replication process doesn’t go as planned! Written by Eisner-award winning author Paul Jenkins (Wolverine: Origin, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man) and art superstar Andy Clarke (Batman, Judge Dredd), this monthly series promises to be fun, daring, adventurous and most times, quite offensive.

Speaking of unconventional, 'Replica' is a sci-fi police procedural with a twist. Amid millions of lifeforms and species, Detective Trevor Carter patrols "The Transfer," a crossroads in space where keeping the peace is crucial to the survival for everyone and everything on the station. Yet, with a trigger-happy alien partner, Carter is overwhelmed at trying to do his job without his superiors getting on his back. If only he could clone himself in order to cover more ground and get more done. 

Luckily, Carter can clone himself but as with any good sci-fi tale things go horribly wrong during the procedure. He now has to wrangle not just one clone but 49 other Carters. Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke drop the reader in the middle of a fully-formed universe where creatures of all kind coexist and justice is still a priority. It's an immersive and exciting adventure thus far with a ton of potential for space cop drama. 

SuperZero

(W) Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti

(A) Rafael de Latorre

(CA) Amanda Conner

With great power comes a bit of insanity, anxiety, and a dash of social alienation! Have you ever fantasized about being a super hero? Well Dru Dragowski does; that’s all this nineteen-year-old, comic book obsessed, high school senior thinks about. She needs to escape the normalcy of suburban life! Her plan? To become a real-life superhero by recreating the origins of her favorite comic characters! Hopefully then, she can become a hero not only for herself – but to protect every-one around her! If only that plan went just the slightest bit right... This fun, teen-agnst filled monthly series is created by the sensational writing duo that brings you Harley Quinn and Starfire – Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner.

Who better to bring a story about a young woman obsessed with superheroes than the team that brings Harley Quinn and Starfire to life every month. Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have a unique twist with Dru Dragowski who daydreams about becoming a superhero and is determined to manipulate her own origin story to make it happen. Dru is endearing, relatable, and sweet, but this obsession is getting in the way of graduating high school. 'SuperZero' is sharply written with plenty of inside jokes about the comic book business and superhero dogma. Rafael de Latorre has a great light cartoonish style that enlivens the book with fun characterizations. It's a wonderful series for the comic book fan of any age. 

Dreaming Eagles (MR)

(W) Garth Ennis

(A) Simon Coleby

(CA) Francesco Francavilla

Inspired by true events, Dreaming Eagles tells the story of the first African Ameri-can fighter pilots to join the United States Army Air Force in WWII and whose humble beginnings in Tuskegee, Alabama propelled them into the deadly skies above Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Not only were they instrumental against the Nazi war machine, but also braved an equally great challenge, overcoming everyday bigotry amongst their fellow American soldiers as well as civilians at home. High in the heavens, they fought a battle that would change their country and their world forever. Industry legend Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys, Hellblazer) joins artist Simon Coleby (2000 AD, The Authority) for this high-flying tale of love, war and family.

One of the most pleasant and unexpected surprises in the initial AfterShock line-up is 'Dreaming Eagles.' It takes place during the Civil Rights movement of the '60s and told through a single African-American family. The father, a veteran fighter pilot of the legendary U.S. Air Force all-black Tuskegee Airmen, is at odds with his son's growing activism during the infancy of the Civil Rights movement. There's a generational gap between the two but when he starts to describe his challenges during World War II they slowly begin to find common ground. There's nothing like this in comics. It's an important story of men who were treated like second class citizens at home but were Hitler's worst nightmare as they ruled the skies above Europe. Garth Ennis is supremely talented and handles the characters with dignity amid familial strife. Simon Coleby provides some dynamic panels covering the present day and flashbacks to the war. The aerial dogfights are especially stunning. 


So far, AfterShock Comics is off to a solid start. They're offering some eclectic quality books with top talent telling some unique stories. With consistent output of titles like this, AfterShock could find themselves in the top tier of independent comic book publishers. 

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